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Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen all collect four points as Avalanche embarrasses Red Wings

The Avalanche made two significant trades Wednesday morning to bolster their chances of winning the Stanley Cup this season. Then the guys who are the biggest reason why they can win a second title in three years when out and put on a show against the Detroit Red Wings at Ball Arena.

Cale Makar had his first career hat trick, while he, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen all had four-point games to help the shorthanded Avalanche blow by the Red Wings, 7-2.

“I haven’t had a hat trick since before juniors,” Makar said. “It was a long, long time before that. I’ve had a lot of two-goal games, but it was just a different vibe tonight. It was pretty cool.”

General manager Chris MacFarland shook up the roster earlier in the day with a pair of trades. The Avs added a new No. 2 center, Casey Mittelstadt, from the Buffalo Sabres and right-handed defenseman Sean Walker from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bo Byram went to Buffalo and Ryan Johansen was sent to Philadelphia in the transactions. The new guys didn’t arrive in Denver in time to play and forward Logan O’Connor was unavailable because of an injury.

That left the Avalanche undermanned — Colorado moved Caleb Jones into the lineup for Byram and recalled forwards Jean-Luc Foudy and Ondrej Pavel to fill out the forward corps.

“It’s hectic, really hectic,” MacKinnon said of a day like this. “Tough to keep your mind focused. Bo is a great friend, tough to see him go. He’s such a great guy. We’ll miss his personality. Amazing player. I’m excited to see him develop in Buffalo. I think he’s going to be a stud.”

The big guns made sure the shorthanded lineup wasn’t a problem. MacKinnon became the first player to score 40 goals in back-to-back seasons for the franchise since it moved to Denver from Quebec, while also grabbing sole possession of the NHL scoring lead with 109 points — four more than Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.

Makar became the fourth defenseman to score a hat trick in franchise history, and the first since Sandis Ozolinsh on Dec. 6, 1999. He now leads all NHL defensemen with 17 goals, and his 70 points is three shy of Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes for the league lead.

Rantanen reached 50 assists for the third consecutive season. He had four assists in this game, plus 16 shot attempts, the second-most he’s had all season.

The Red Wings scored on their first shot of the game less than two minutes in, but both Red Wings goaltenders were under siege for the final 58. The 54 shots on goal for the Avs was their most in a game this season.

“I loved the jump in our offensive game the whole night,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “The offensive game never wavered. It’s something we’ve been talking about and working on and I thought the guys were outstanding tonight, and we got better in the second and third period with our defending.”

Colorado’s top line and defense pair scored the first five goals for the Avs, before Jonathan Drouin made it 6-2 in the third period with his second tally in as many games. Foudy joined the scoring party with his first career NHL goal at 15:25 of the third, by which point most of the red-clad Red Wings fans in attendance had left the premises.

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